China should ‘keep a clear head’ on nuclear power, concentrate more on Generation-III reactors and keep its new build ambitions for 2020 to around 100 GWe instead of 120 GWe. The advice came from the State Council Research Office (SCRO), which makes independent policy recommendations to the State Council on strategic matters.
* The SCRO was mindful of the 100-fold increase in probabilistic safety brought by Generation-III and that future generations would continue the trend. So do not built too many Gen-II reactors just because we can.
They were only saying to build 100 GWe and not 120 GWe not because 120 GWe could not be done but because China would have too many Gen 2 reactors (CPR1000s)
They also indicated that China would have the technically trained people but should take longer to get the safety culture.
They also want more effort to the AP1000, CAP 1400 and more fuel cycle work.
There is no constraint on steel and concrete because China builds the coal plants of the same size and similar amounts of steel and concrete and land and completes 1 per week.
There are some supply chain issues but only on some of the Gen III / Gen 3.5 reactors components.
SCRO does not look at the factory mass produced pebble beds but those will not be moving the needle much in this decade.
Six recommendations –
1. Aim for 100 GWe total nuclear capacity in 2020 and not 120 GWe
2. Concentrate on domestic AP1000 construction’ followed by the proposed CAP-1400 derivative. (less CPR-1000s – gen II based on french EPR 900)
3. Quality of nuclear components made in China must be enhanced and stabilised to ‘break the bottleneck’ in the supply chain.
4. Personnel training has to be strengthened with the establishment of a ‘complete nuclear engineering education system.’ While staff can be technically trained in four to eight years, ‘safety culture takes longer.’
5. The NNSA should be an entity directly under the State Council Bureau, making it an independent regulatory body with authority.’
6. Improve China’s fuel cycle capabilities by ‘deepening the reform of the nuclear fuel system and the establishment of an independent nuclear fuel enterprise group.’ China should ‘strive over the next five to ten years in the development of uranium resources, uranium enrichment, fuel fabrication and spent fuel reprocessing.’
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